Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mid Term Elections: No Choices for NW Indiana?

Sometimes it sucks to be stuck in Jasper County come election time, particularly when you're lumped in with Lake County which some describe "to be one of the nation's most corrupt" ...because you know, no matter how frustrated Washington has made you feel, the same old dumba**es will smile and wave as they zip back to Washington after a token race here.

This year it is only mildly different in that Evan Bayh has stepped down, but who are the candidates vying for his position?

There's the Pelosi butt-kisser Brad Ellsworth (D) who I feel is sure to jump to her every command should he get the seat. I'm guessing that even Cap and Trap ...errr... Trade will be on his "Yes, Ms. Pelosi" list even tho he rejected the Markey Bill in June of 2009 (along with several other Dems as I recall). Ellsworth has voted with a majority of his Democratic colleagues 88.7% of the time during the current Congress... including the much-hated Health Care Bill.

Don'tcha just HATE "deem and pass"? That sneaky little play by the Democrats in Washington still leaves a sour taste in the mouths of many people across the country. It's a bitter pill to swallow, to be sure, but even worse was their Stimulus spending spree which, it appears to me at least, they used more as a vehicle to thank (read payback) those who voted them into the Oval Office than anything to do with actual job creation. Yes, our buddy Brad voted in favor of both of those monsters. You think he read them? I wonder...

To be fair, he was one of the so-called Blue Dog Dems that first said they wouldn't sign the Health Care Bill, and then in the ninth hour did their silly little dog-and-pony show to flip over to the other side and vote yes because either, a) they were stupid enough to believe the Executive Order on the abortion issue actually meant something, or b) they were stupid enough to believe that we were stupid enough to believe it actually meant something.

IMHO, that was the most PATHETIC display of politics I had seen in a long time. However, since these mid-term elections have started heating up across the country I've been seeing plenty more.

Now, in the other corner vying for Bayh's seat...

Here we find the fly-by-night Dan Coats who quickly moved back to Indiana when he saw an opening after Bayh announced his pending retirement. Yeppers... Dan Coats sure would love to return to Washington as an insider again... he has a string of exes on his resume that leaves no doubt where his ambitions lay (Ex-US Senator, Ex-Congressman, Ex-US Ambassador to Germany, Attorney & Lobbyist)... if that don't SCREAM Washington politician at you ...well then... you probably haven't been observing how things work at that end of the country.

To be fair, maybe that kind of experience would be a good thing. Maybe he would go down there and kick butt. Maybe, just maybe, he actually WANTS to be a voice in Washington for us. Ya think? Frankly, in my very personal and humble opinion, I just can't stand people who only have an eye on opportunity and not on serving the people without whom the opportunity would not even exist... and his whole move-back-in-the-nick-of-time thingy strikes me as so... I dunno.... poser-like? Does he see us as HIS boss? Or does he see us as minions he needs to use as stepping stones to go where he really wants to go - namely Washington? I wonder...

Evan Bayh's seat isn't the only position up for election come November. Visclosky faces the voters once again, too. For those of us who have had to go up against his buddies in this region, we weren't at all surprised about the Murtha whispers and following Federal investigation (still ongoing). We've had the advantage of seeing first hand how he plants his seeds in the front yards of his powerful cronies... and turns his back on the small, weak and/or middle-class working man in this region. But I'm guessing there are enough clueless voters still left in this region that this election (like all others he has been in going back almost 30 years) will be a walk in the park for him... just my humble opinion.

He won't get my vote -- but I sincerely doubt that will keep him awake at night. The way I see it, he's part of that oh-so-powerful Democratic machine that has a strangle-hold on this region. IMHO, they need to be completely ripped apart and rebuilt, tossing everyone out starting at the very top and working their way down to just above the local level. The machine couldn't care less about Indiana... but they do appear to love their Washington weight. Again, just my humble opinion. Or is it?

"Voters overwhelmingly believe that most members of Congress are for sale, and over half think it’s at least somewhat likely that their own representative has been bought with cash or a campaign contribution." (link to Rasmussen Reports)

Here's another quote for ya...

"Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, the Lake County Democratic chairman, said Democrats with political aspirations know better than to run against Visclosky." (link to full story)

What's that tell ya? Is that where the so-called corruption starts?

I've seen Visclosky signs perched in various yards around the area... however... I notice there aren't nearly so many as there have been in previous elections. In fact, by my estimate just in our area, there are only about 1 tenth of them this go-around. Is this a signal that maybe, just maybe, the walk in the park might not be so pleasant for him after all?

Sadly, I have yet to see any signs for his opponents, the first of whom is Mark Leyva (R). He is going up against Pete for the fourth time. Mark, Mark, Mark... What can I say about Mark? Not much, but here is someone who has plenty to say about him.

And then there is Jon Morris, the Libertarian candidate for this region... the only other alternative left for Viscolosky's seat.

Seriously? These are all we have to choose from? Well... there are more. Click here for a bigger list of political candidates/seats up for grab in less than 2 weeks.

Regardless which side of the fence you're on -- get out and vote. Okay?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A sign of things to come?

On September 23, 2010, a fax memo went out to all coin dealers from the Dept. of the Treasury U.S. Mint... "The United States Mint has depleted its inventory of 2010 American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Bullian Coins. No additional inventory will be made available."

A sign of things to come... ?

Meanwhile, on other shores, on September 15, 2010, Japan intervened to keep its currency from rising more than it already has. Reuters estimates the single day intervention could be as high as $20 Billion. It's common knowledge that China has been moving away from US Treasuries and trading more and more with Japan, which may have been part of their reasoning for the intervention, but....

Could this be another sign of things to come... ?

A quick trip up to Russia leads to the discovery (according to an AFP story) that 45 Russian regions saw prices for certain foods rise by more than 30% in a 30-day period ending August 23, 2010. Surprisingly, this time the Russian Government has chosen not to intervene...

To look at how well stocks have performed this month here in the USA one might think things are actually going well over here. After all, the recession is over... was over as of June 2009... according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Yes sirree. Crack open the bubbly.

Unless... ?

Go ahead and party. I'll be back tomorrow with some updates you might have been missing.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Economy - Crunching the Numbers

Take 231,000 and add 66,000 and you should get 297,000... right? Well, according to this story in it's only 290,000. Had my 9 year old son responded with their answer, he would have received an F on his math paper -- and that's what is driving me NUTS right now -- the deliberate fudging of the numbers going on in the economic headlines these days, and the deliberate "spin" in political circles.

For example... unemployment WENT UP to 9.9% and yet most everyone is celebrating the "story" that payrolls jumped 290,000 last month, supposedly "indicating the recovery is becoming self-sustaining."

Say WHAT?!?

Here are the numbers I'm seeing...

Unemployment Up: now 9.9%
Dow Down: ended down 347.8 points yesterday (after near disaster-level plunge)
Foreclosures Up: 1 in every 138 homes received foreclosure notices in the first quarter 2010
Freddie Mac: Going for another $10.6 Billion in Fed dollars
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Delinquencies: rose 69 basis points in March
GM: gets an additional $3.3 Billion in Govt funds (say what?)

Let's crunch a few numbers...

Approximately 920,000 Govt. temporary workers will be hired for Census taking from April through June. I'm thinking, "Watch out July." What about the new graduates coming into the workforce pool? Has anyone even taken a count?

A few astute economists that I've been following have predicted a dramatic pull-back in home-building/home sales come July as well... which leads me to guesstimate we'll be seeing unemployment skyrocketing yet again as home building contractors struggle to find work (and speculators come out to short the home builders market again) and related support industries begin another pull back. Worse yet - "Bank of America is projecting a 600% increase in its already large number of monthly foreclosures." (link)

Now... with the glut of foreclosed homes on the market adding to the new homes inventory, what effect do you see this having on property taxes? Watch out education budgets.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You really gotta read this article on the Irvine Housing Blog to appreciate how much of the mess is being deliberately shoved into 2012. You think Obama cares whether or not he gets re-elected? He'll probably step down with a big grin of relief. Too bad we can't hold him and his Administration accountable... but that's another story for another day.

Sidenote: It comes as no surprise to me that Bank of America's CEO plans to vote for Barney Frank this fall. Maybe he thinks they'll get the same protections Fannie and Freddie have received from Frank over the past decade?

But I digress...

Now let's talk about the GM number crunching lie.

GM actually increased the size of their bailout but hid under a veil of accounting chicanery IMHO... here is how it worked. They took $6.7 Billion from their Working Capital loan (part of the Equity bailout money) to pay off their $6.7 Billion straight loan (not the entire $49.5 Billion they actually got) so they could get a $10 Billion loan from the DOE... which essentially increased the total they owe the govt by $3.3 Billion but reduced the interest rate on that new $10 Billion dollar candy they snatched.

I guess it wouldn't have been so bad if they had at least been honest about it... but noooooo... they go and spend a small fortune (of whose money, exactly?) on an advertising campaign saying they paid off their Government loan in full. (Considering they're 72.5% Govt. owned now, which Govt. Administrator/Overseer approved this ad?)

The reason I bring it up here isn't just because of the fuzzy "accounting" terminology they used to essentially lie to us. No. I bring it up because of the fact that they went for even more money than they initially received in bailout dollars. Another $3.3 Billion. To retool to meet new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (aka CAFE)... Didn't the initial bailout have them covered for retooling to meet this glorious new future? Anyone else besides me thinking they're having financial problems already?

Back to what I mentioned with respect to Fannie and Freddie...

Freddie Mac is tapping the Treasury for another $10.6 billion. Together, the two giants (Fannie and Freddie) have drawn $136.5 billion from Treasury's unlimited equity line since they were seized in September 2008... and here we are, still going up, up and up... but not too many are talking about it today. With the DOW teetering back and forth so much this morning, I don't find that surprising.

The PPT will step in before the end of the day. Just a guess.

Obama's little "pep talk" this morning did little to comfort me, but there are those who are still drinking at the hopium cooler. God Bless them...

(Compare the F&F financing to the Greek tragedy -- the European/IMF rescue amount for Greece is in the neighborhood of $139 billion. Combined, Fannie and Freddie rescues will now amount to more than rescuing a small country. -- Think about it.)

Add salt to the wounds... with the Gulf Coast mess and traditional summer gas price goose mixed together this year, I'm guessing hefty price increases at the pumps (which will probably be due more to the sneaky EPA strong arming being attempted right now to bypass voters yet again).

As grim as all of the above might look, that's not even the worst of it... the way I see it.

No sirree...

This Admin has scraped so much under the carpet, there's no carpet left under which to hide some to the dirt showing up with respect to their new Health Care Bill and the Stimulack numbers. It's no wonder people are jumping nervously over the supposed "Financial Reform Bill" has all but evaporated among steamed citizens.

In a vain attempt to hang onto as many Democrat seats as they (Democrats) possibly can; come the mid-term elections, I am betting we're about to see spin like we've never seen spin before... I'll liken it to a carnival ride known as the Twister. IMHO, it will be near impossible to separate the lies from the facts as facts become more and more distorted to suit political agendas on all sides. Better have plenty of gravel pills on hand. The ride isn't going to be pretty over the next few months.

Heck, it isn't going to be pretty at all over the next few years.

PS: Notice how one computer generated trade can send the entire market into a tail spin? I shudder to think what hackers around the world might be contemplating over that little fiasco!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Does Reform Mean To You?

As more and more details surface on what is really buried in the Health Reform Bill (squashed through Congress using every trick in the book), the word CON in CONfidence is leaping out for those who previously had complete CONfidence in Government.

Meanwhile, whispers of "I told you so" are just beginning for those who had absolutely no CONfidence from the beginning of this whole dog and pony show.

CONsidering the distress that Health Care Reform has already begun to stir (with far worse to come), it's not surprising that many voters have a bitter taste in their mouth when the word REFORM drips from the lips of Democrats and/or the White House elite.

What gets under my skin, and under the skin of others who think like me, is how the White House and all those in the Senate and House are hiding behind the "Reform" debate rather than stepping up to the plate on accountability enforcing laws already present. So sad.

Rumored to be some 1408 pages long (some say more than 1500 pages long?), the Financial Reform Bill will cast a giant Government shadow over all businesses -- yet, according to some, it will do little to reign in the sources and root causes (notice the plural?) that shoved world economies into Cat. 5 Economic Hurricane status.... IMHO. In fact, I dare say we now sit in the eye of that Cat-5 financial storm, and the eye will soon pass to bring on the backside of this hurricane.

Trend watchers of historical economic data tend to agree that the next "recession" is due in another 2 to 3 years. We're far from over this one thanks to positively terrible handling (read mishandling) by this Admin. Just my humble opinion.

The thought of them "reforming" anything further sends a shudder down my spine.

Let's take a break from this gloom and doom path.

Here is an experiment Christian readers of my blog can try...

Take the "Reform" bills passed by this Administration to date and find out how many times one of our Ten Commandments was broken. While you're at it, take a look at some of the few details we've seen regarding the current so-called "financial reform bill" winding it's way through Washington and refer to this particular commandment:
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." Exodus 20:17
Envy, even today, is a dirty word by many standards and/or interpretations... but it seems, at least to me, that this Administration is hell bent on redefining the word, raising it to some kind of "social justice" platform. It's like they're saying it's okay to hate (read envy) the rich. Notice... in the above quoted Commandment... being the rich neighbour isn't bad... being the jealous neighbour is bad.


I'm certainly no religious zealot here... nor am I a pastor or preacher of the Word. Those far more experienced than I in interpreting God's laws would in all likelihood be better equipped to define the word "covet" as it exists within this commandment.

Those who kneel before the President's speeches and let him lead them into a "bash the rich" marathon can look inside their own hearts and decide whether it is actually their own envy that spurs them on this path... or not. They'll meet their maker some day. We all do. Some of us will have more 'splainin' to do than others.

Personally, I just want to see those who actually broke the law, face legal justice.

And I most CERTAINLY don't want to see a permanent slush fund set up to bail a single one of them out, ever again!

Toodle-loo... I'm off to see if I can buy some "reform" insurance. Maybe AIG is selling it. Heheheh.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tear Down This Wall

I was going to make this a quick one today.

Watch this video:

"Why Aren't These Guys In Handcuffs Yet?"

Since we are now fast approaching the 2 year mark of the official Nov. 2008 election results when the much-touted transition team were being fully debriefed in preparation for taking over the White House, I'm quite surprised that the super-majority (read all-powerful) Democrats have built so many walls behind which to hide the ugly truth of the financial mess they kept using as their "blame the previous administration" excuse gavel in order to "pound" their way through their first year.

It's year 2 now...

Democrats have used the "previous administration" excuse and the "financial crisis" excuse: to cram through a $410 Billion omnibus budget, to dump a MASSIVE $787 Billion dollar stimulus (read - stimulack) Bill on our backs (which has grown since then), to drive up our debt ceiling several trillion dollars, to jam thru a heavily flawed Health Care Pill... errrr, Bill... using deceptive reconciliation rules in order to avoid a true debate following the shout that came from Massachusetts voters... a Bill which, in my very humble opinion, will drive up our deficits trillions more while completely collapsing both Medicare and Social Security (regardless what they claim to the contrary)... etc., etc., etc.

...and yet... we are...

...nearly 2 years later...

And no one is behind bars yet?

Even worse -- no one knows for certain how many other banks out there were using the same deceptive -- read: illegal -- accounting practices? Well... maybe Larry Summers knows, maybe Paul Volker knows,  maybe Hank Paulson knows, maybe Gheitner knows, maybe Bernanke knows ...and just maybe even Barney Frank (among others in the current Admin) knows... ...but the taxpayers who had to foot the bill to save all their asses... what do we know?

In the very beginning... even before... this new Democrat era, I recall how quick the new Administration was to demonize Wall Street Fat Cats, Fannie/Freddie and AIG... remember? Here are a couple quotes to help refresh your memory:

"Tomorrow you can turn the page on policies that put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of men and women all across main street." (President Elect Brack Obama - Nov. 3, 2008)

"Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers." (President Elect Barack Obama Nov. 4, 2008)

Bottom line, the accounting "shell games" played by Lehman were illegal.

Plain and simple.

The individuals playing the game could have been stopped and put behind bars at any time.

Truth is, there are plenty of regulations at the SEC and Fed's disposal that could have been enforced to reign in the mess, and plenty of things that could have been done to STOP the Fannie/Freddie catastrophe for which we're still paying (and Dems are hiding, deliberately keeping $1.6 Trillion dollars OFF the books and OUT of the Budget) ...the repeated cries for clampdowns rang out (from Republicans)... but were ignored (by Democrats)... even deliberately shoved aside by House Democrats in power at the time, as this unforgettable video clearly reveals when an investigation was requested by Republicans:

Fannie/Freddie were practically the biggest crime of the whole mess IMHO, and a close look at the timeline shows the callous disregard by Barney Frank in this video.

And I quote from Barney Frank himself the part where he says with respect to Fannie and Freddie: "I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios; even if there were a problem, the Federal Government doesn't bail them out."


What about the Housing Bubble? Here's another priceless video starring Barney Frank.

And what about the $90 Million in bonus money that Franklin Raines walked away with while he practically "cooked the books" for Fannie and Freddie? He gets promoted to a position on the Obama staff instead of penalized for being a party to the entire mess??
The way I see it, Republicans have been trying for years to reign in Freddie and Fannie. Democrats have been blocking Republicans from doing anything about it for years.

Think about this...

In the Enron accounting scandals, people went to jail. Accounting firms were held accountable. Justice was served on people who broke the law.

This Admin's answer to the Lehman accounting crimes?

Let's rewrite all the laws, overhaul the regulations... we'll hog tie all those left standing so they can never do this again. Really? Really!?! Have you Dems lost your freakin' marbles? You never once stepped in to enforce the rules and regulations you already had at your disposal... ...indeed, you fought against a clampdown... rewrote laws in previous eras of Democratic power that helped enable the mess... ...your ACORN bully buddies forced things even further... ...and now you claim you want more power to control the "bad" guys in the apple barrel? Even worse, you want to grant those powers to yet another shadow body under the Federal Reserve's umbrella -- the very freakin' people who also helped put us here in the first freakin' place?

It goes to prove how far out of touch the Dems are with the people.

Let's start with Lehmans...

We don't want reforms.

We want justice served.

We want those who -- did the crime -- serve the time.

Then let's move on to Freddie and Fannie...

We want all of those who were responsible, including politicians, regulators and more... held accountable.

We are sick and tired of the innocent being hammered with the debt, financially punished for crimes they did not commit, while the guilty go free complete with the millions and billions they pocketed in the process.

DEMOCRATS!! Do they get it?!?

Here is a little something extra to get your heart racing without doing any exercise... check this out.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: The 50 Most Powerful People in U.S. Real Estate

Go through the list and find out who warned you about what was coming with respect to the housing crisis... and who didn't.

Who were the "enablers" on that list?

For the record, Barney Frank is not stupid. Far from it. The fact is, he is extremely sharp, sly, and cunning... learn more about Barnett "Barney" Frank here.

Will he be able to complete his image makeover so Massachusetts voters can forget his part in the entire financial mess? They claim voters have very short memories. We shall soon see...

Meanwhile, here's what I predict.

Dems will use all of this as an excuse to further hammer away at capitalism and further entrench the country in socialistic reforms which will NOT address the perpetrators of the crimes that occurred. They will try to harness the outrage still simmering from when the "crisis" first hit, and use it as a tool to further their own agenda while making the "stupid voters" believe they're actually punishing the guilty.

Sadly... there are plenty of voters still out there that are dumbed down enough to believe them, IMHO.

"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Take Cover: Here It Comes

In the previous 48 hours I've watched more than 18 hours of CSPAN. How about you? Did you want to bear witness to what was actually taking place -- live -- while it happened -- or did you opt to get your information via sound bites, pundits and blogs?

The Dems had a few things right:

1. It was an historic vote, but not for the reasons they gave.

2. It is a bad bill, as many have admitted, which is the reason for the massive ammendments yet to be placed before the Senate.

3. It will provide access to health care insurance for some of the uninsured (not all) but at huge costs to States, businesses and individual tax payers.

You see, the Bill will not only penalize businesses who do not offer a government approved level of health care to workers, it will also penalize individuals who do not have health care... businesses are mandated to offer it, individuals are madated to purchase it... see a flaw in this? Let's see if the "experts" find it.

Here are 3 points they did NOT want to emphasize:

1. It adds 17,000 NEW IRS Agents to the Fed payroll to police the new Bill.

2. It adds 20 NEW TAXES

3. The States are now on the hook for Medicaid expansion included in the Bill... whether they can afford it or not.

One of those new taxes is a tax on investment income. I haven't had a chance to read the CBO scored Bill yet, so I'm wondering... this tax on investment income... surely wouldn't be retirement investment income... would it? Or is it merely penalizing those who have saved their money over the years by investing it, prudently preparing themselves for their childrens' future education, or their retirement, or.... fill in the blank... ?? Is ownership of property considered an investment under the definition? What is this new tax... exactly?

Hmmm... 20 new taxes... aren't you wondering what they are?

At this point, I guess it doesn't really matter. They passed the Bill. Two hundred and nineteen Democratic House Reps voted in favor... 212 House Reps voted against the Bill. A party-like atmosphere seemed to erupt for those 219 Democrats. I wonder if their constituents are partying it up with them back home?

Doesn't matter.

It passed.

We're all screwed now...

So, let's go back to what I was warning everyone about, have been warning for the past 18 months... by starting with an article published in "the Atalantic" this month.


It will take about 30 minutes to read through. And although I disagree with the author's personal unsupported contention that what is now needed is even more Government spending, which is the core cause of the crisis we now face, the remainder of the article is well researched.

Take 30 minutes to read this now: "How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America"

Go ahead... read it... I'll wait.

Now, a quote from the article: "A large and long-standing body of research shows that physical health tends to deteriorate during unemployment, most likely through a combination of fewer financial resources and a higher stress level."

Now, go back and read my blog post from yesterday.

We have work to do if we are to prepare ourselves for what is now coming from this tax and spend Administration. I want you, dear readers, to be prepared for the lost decade in which we now find ourselves. We can choose to curl up and hide under our blankets hoping our Government will save us from the tough times ahead... or we can ignore them (like they apparently ignore us), roll up our sleeves and get ready to think our way out of this box they're squishing us into.

I have some ideas...

Stay tuned.

PS: Thank you for listening, Mr. Mike Pence. And thank you for standing up and letting them know how many of us feel here in Indiana.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

He Blew It On Health Care

Don't say I didn't warn you. Way back on March 6, 2009, I told you he was going to blow it... and as we race towards the dawn of a new day, the sky is darkening with the threat of a health care Bill passage that has kept the entire nation on pins and needles...

And I can finally say... HE BLEW IT!

Every single politician that votes YES today -- shame on you. Some of you even admit it's a bad Bill, but you're voting in favor because it's a start. A start? A START?!?? Good Heavens -- EDUCATION in this country must really SUCK bigtime if these are the brightest bulbs we can find to light the way to our future.

I bet you think this post is all about the Health Care Bill about to be voted on, right?


I warned you last March.

I warned you last May.

I warned you last June.

I warned you yet again last July...

If you listened, you've stockpiled your cash.

Keep doing it.... but do MORE of it... and FASTER!!

You see, the REAL numbers are out with respect to GDP, Unemployment and more; and they're very, very ugly!

Companies are, RIGHT NOW, in a state of contraction. Real unemployment touched within a hair of the 22% mark, followed by a slight dip, and is again on the rise. Taking out the Government gimmicks, February inflation was actually estimated to be 9.4% (not the 2.1% CPI-U). Take inflation out of the mix and those small increases in Retail Sales don't look like the picture they've been trying to paint, do they? The fact is, Retail Sales have been bottom-bouncing for quite a while now. If the REAL numbers are important to you, then you will want to pay for a subscription to this newsletter. No, I don't make a cent for referring you to it.

And all of that is the BRIGHT side.

Here is the DARK side.

It's Defcon 4 for some of the largest States with respect to deficits gone wild. Liquidity is a growing problem for many banks as well... with several more banks at or near being closed in the months ahead.

Foreclosure numbers in residential Real Estate appear on the surface to be leveling off... but if you think something is out of sync since Default numbers appear to be climbing, you might be in agreement with this brave reporter. Can you even trust the foreclosure numbers?

And what is really happening in Commercial Real Estate? It was projected in May of 2009 that... "...the most dangerous time for banks will be 2010 to 2013 when $1 trillion in commercial real estate loans will mature..." What? No follow-up? Why are the media so silent on what's going on in commercial real estate this year?

Take a quick glance at the global picture for a moment if you dare. Remember that global summit where newly elected Obama made the plea for other countries to join him in pushing more money into the system? Well, the impact in the form of a credit bubble has formed in Canada... but that's the least of the problems out there. Here is a quick snapshot of the Greece, China, etc. "global recovery" at the moment. I guess that sorta proves you can't "just throw money at it." Interestingly, it seems Germany doesn't agree with the redistribution of wealth thingy.... at least, not when it comes to their country having to bail out some other country.

There's more... much darker... we're already entering the edge of that valley.

But let's go back to the Health Care Bill...

I was watching C-Span between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. with respect to process and the additional amendments that were brought forth to discuss on the floor during the big VOTE coming today, and I gotta tell 'ya, the Party of NO was all Democrats with respect to fairness in the process, transparency in the voting process itself, and common sense additions, removals, and/or repeals in the Amendments put forward.


Amendment suggested (paraphrased): "...that all revenues generated for social security via payroll tax increases be kept in Social Security and not used for other purposes." All Dems voted NO and all Republicans voted YES.

Amendment suggested (paraphrased): "...that all revenues and or savings generated with respect to Medicare be kept in the Medicare budget to offset deficits." All Dems voted NO and all Republicans voted YES.

Amendment suggested (paraphrased): "...that small businesses and minority-owned businesses generating under $500,000 per year be exempt from the employer mandated health insurance clause." All Dems voted NO and all Republicans voted YES.

And it went on and on and on...

In fact, the Democrats have been the Party of NO ever since Mr. Yes-We-Can moved into the Whitehouse. They said NO to having any Republican involvement at the beginning of drafting the Health Care Bill, they said NO to having any Republican representation in the "behind closed doors" discussions and bartering, they said NO to having C-Span cover the debates, they have been saying NO quite a bit, don't you think?

And now they're getting ready to push this country off a very steep cliff.

It's already too late to save the economy.

We're about to go through some excruciating pain in the months and years ahead.

He BLEW it!

They BLEW it!

He could have been a hero. What an incredible missed opportunity!!

The freaking nimrods wasted an entire year playing patty-cake with a piece of legislation that will be the final straw on the limping economy's back. What could have been a molehill is now a mountain, and thanks to this junk legislation, the peak of the mountain is now higher than the highest on this planet.

Think it's not going to happen?

That's fine.

You're entitled to your own opinion.... and good luck with that.

But, consider this...

If you ran an independent FULL audit of the Federal Reserve -- right now -- today -- don't you wonder how much money has been funneled into the Pump and Dump scheme in order to get enough "Stupid Money" back into Wall Street? How many key players have set themselves up to rule the world that will come out of the destruction we surely face right now?

It's beginning to look like the main reason Obama doesn't want you to go to Vegas is because, in my very humble opinion, it most likely will be the only long shot left for rags to riches stories in this country...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

On Shaky Ground

The Bay Area experienced its second earthquake of the year this afternoon, a 3.4 magnitude which struck in San Jose shortly after midday. Meanwhile, scientists at NASA say the Chilean earthquake -- a magnitude 8.8 -- may have shortened the length of an Earth Day by 1.26 microseconds (1.26 millionths of a second) and might have moved Earth's figure axis by about 8 centimeters (3 inches). Not to be confused with our north-south axis, the figure axis is the axis about which Earth's mass is balanced.

I mention this for 2 reasons...

First, as many of you know, I'm a science buff. I love trying to understand how intricately interconnected everything in our universe appears to be... how simple yet totally complex life is... and the unlimited possibilities that exist because of how little we actually know -- about our planet, about life, about our universe. After all, did you even consider that a quake so far away could have an impact around the world?

Second, in a truly bizarre way, it reminds me of the health care bill being currently jammed through in Washington... a bill so unpopular that it could not be passed when the Dems had a super majority... and now being sandwiched through under the threat of "reconciliation" ...what some on the Hill call the "nuclear" option.

Polls keep swinging back and forth on the issue. The best results in favor tend to use very vague questioning... something along the lines of "should something be done to lower the costs of health care in this country -- yes -- or -- no" ....d'oh? Yes, let's clutch at that straw shall we? That seems to be the ONLY major issue everyone agrees on so it's not surprising that a large number would answer yes. No brainer, right?

The real question should be: Will the current bill being pushed through now lower costs of health care both for individuals and the industry as a whole -- yes -- or -- no?

The way I read it, the millions currently without health care are now going to be forced to buy it whether they want to (or can afford to) or not.... so I'm guessing that's one group for which it will raise costs. Not so fast. Supposedly there will be millions of people that can now get it free. Or do they? Jeepers. I'm not really sure. Are you as confused as I am on that point?

Those who are currently uninsured preferring to use "pay as you go" (meaning, pay the doctor when you see him/her for your check up, pay for tests as and when they are needed, etc. etc.) will now be forced to buy insurance. I'm assuming costs will go up for many in that group.

Our family used that method when we didn't have coverage and it was FAR LESS expensive than any family plan I've seen to date. We didn't burden the emergency room... nor did we ever get free health care... and frankly, the doctors and specialists seemed to like seeing that instant cash. Just imagine the paperwork they didn't have to file to collect from some insurance company or govt agency. I'm guessing it would be far less expensive from an administration point of view and probably increase cash flow since there would be no waiting for accounts receivables to roll in. I'm guessing when insurance is mandatory, costs both for purchasing it (where it wasn't purchased before) and administering it ...and the new cost of REGULATING it... are all going to increase... but I could be wrong?

Then there will come the day when our son reaches the age where he is forced to buy health insurance. I wonder how he (and his generation) are going to perceive this Administration? Or will the bill be repealed by then?

Canadians might complain about their health care, but I'm guessing you would be very hard pressed to find them jumping at a chance to have this mess and the related expense. I can just see my Canadian friends going to the doctor and having to fork over a cheque first to cover their deductable before the doctor will see them. Ha! They have no idea how terrible things truly are if you actually live down here.

If the Dems use the "reconciliation" option, going forward with a 51 vote in lieu of the standard 60 votes required for passing legislation of this size, I see it as Obama's first major earthquake... and the days for his party being shortened considerably.

A new gallup poll out says that just 37% want their member of Congress to vote for the bill.

But this Whitehouse doesn't listen to the polls. They keep chiming that they won the 2008 election, and therefor they have the people behind them. Have they turned around to look? I'm guessing they don't watch approval ratings either. Congress approval ratings have been in the toilet for a long time now and Obama is steadily sliding down.

If he pulls the same stunt with Cap and Trade... I see a major opening for a third party to rise up quickly.... because it will be the Dems who shove this country off a cliff into a double-dip recession... or worse, the next Great Depression. Think it can't happen? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stunning Silence on GM Recalls

The airwaves were burning up during the Toyota recalls... and yet, when "GM Recalls 1.3 Million Cars" the silence is almost deafening by comparison. Not total silence. A blurb here... another small mention (video/bloomberg -- you'll love the way Toyota was blamed for the malfunctioning part used by GM) here... so the word is out...

Quoted from Daily Finance:

According to The Washington Post, GM will recall 1.3 million compact cars to replace a motor in the power steering system. When the motor fails, the car becomes harder to steer at lower speeds, according to GM. The affected models are:

•The 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalt;
•The 2007-10 Pontiac G5, which has been discontinued;
•The 2005-06 Pontiac Pursuit, which is the Canadian version of the G5; and
•The 2004-05 Pontiac G4, which is the Mexican version of the G5.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began its own probe of 905,000 Cobalts after getting more than 1,100 complaints about a loss of power steering -- including 14 crashes and one injury.
The Daily Finance article goes on to note that uncontrolled acceleration is "Not Just a Toyota Problem" ...Ford is also mentioned.

Just for the heck of it, I'm going to tick Robert off by suggesting the negative publicity for GM would probably not be in the best interests of the current Administration. Could this be the reason for so little reporting on this massive recall? Just kidding... LOL!! But Rob seems to love painting me as some kind of nutjob conspiracy theorist... so I'd hate to disappoint him.

In all seriousness, vehicular safety is no laughing matter. Even though the flawed vehicles were a relatively small portion of overall sales for any of the manufacturers mentioned, Daily Finance is right to point out that "...human emotion does not care about statistics."

To be fair, Toyota is recalling 8 million vehicles, whereas this GM recall numbers only 1.3 million... there was a time when a recall number in the thousands would get attention... but I guess the times have changed.

Even soo... personally... I am rather curious to see how much longer the media hammers on Toyota... and whether or not they'll even pick up on the GM recall story to hammer it with equal passion and enthusiasm. I'm guessing it won't happen with equal vigor until some politician or other wants some face time in front of the cameras... and I'm guessing that person will not be a Democrat. (That last part was added for you, Rob.)

Want to make a small wager?

Friday, February 26, 2010

FDIC Fridays Update and Unemployment

It's been ages since I brought you an update on FDIC bank closings, so I'll do a quick month-by-month here today. Plus, let's take a look at the so-called "lagging indicator" ...job gains/losses.

FDIC Closings (Bank Failings) 2009 and 2010 (as of Feb. 26, 2010):

Jan 2009 - 6
Feb 2009 - 10
Mar 2009 - 5
Apr 2009 - 8
May 2009 - 7
Jun 2009 - 9
Jul 2009 - 24 (Yes... 24 in a single month!!!)
Aug 2009 - 15
Sep 2009 - 11
Oct 2009 - 20
Nov 2009 - 9
Dec 2009 - 16
Jan 2010 - 15
Feb 2010 - 7

Total Bank failures in 2005: 0
Total Bank failures in 2006: 0
Total Bank failures in 2007: 3
Total Bank failures in 2008: 25
Total Bank failures in 2009: 172
Total Bank failures in 2010 (as of Feb 26/2010): 22

Rumor has it that the number of bank closings by the FDIC are about to rise as several new Federal FDIC employees have been added of late... just a rumor so far?


Is it really "credit drying up" that is causing the problems for small businesses in the USA? Or is it the disappearing bank phenomenom that's causing the problem? Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Let's see...

How do we compare with other countries in bank closings? Well, I'm going to stick to Canada and the USA for this one because I don't have time to dig up the stats for all the other countries. Plus, I'm only taking a look at the year 2009... the bank closings that have happened on Obama's watch.

Are you sitting down?

Here we go....

Total banks closed in USA for 2009: 172
Total banks closed in CAN for 2009: 0

There are several reasons Canadian banks have faired so well, including the regulations placed upon them by their Federal Government... regulations which are strictly enforced.

But there is a dark side. Talk to any Canadian business owner and most will tell you that "the only way we can get a business loan, any loan, is if we don't need the money."

Yes, the banks up north are definitely risk averse. None can deny it. And their accounting practices and related regulations are strongly enforced... something that helped them avoid the fallout most of the rest of the world's financial institutions felt.

In Canada, liabilities (read mortgages) were kept on their books... not repackaged and sold as "securities" (and resold and resold and resold, magically converting liabilities into assets) which is the TRUE root cause of the Wall Street collapse. When a default occurred, no one was certain who actually owned it because repackaging and selling had become so rampant here in the USA and elsewhere.

One truly has to wonder, though, with all the small banks being closed across the USA right now... is there another agenda afoot by the current Administration? I'm guessing this op-ed article published a year ago (in Feb. 2009) probably has it spot on:

"The Great Solvent North"

There is a certain stupidity in this bank-envy if, in fact, the Obama Administration is trying to emulate the Canadian banking system here in the USA. I refer to "fuzzy accounting practices" and "lax regulation enforcement" to mention just two of many things that will bring about the downfall of any such bull-headed attempt... or should I call it a "bear"-headed attempt?

If this is indeed the path the Administration is following, buckle up America. This Administration has already proven to lack vision with respect to seeing the BIG Picture along with the SMALL Picture, IMHO. You think jobs are tough to find now? You have absolutely no idea how truly bad it's going to get.

Speaking of which...

Let's move on to that "lagging indicator" everyone is talking about, shall we? Here's how the cookie crumbles as far as national unemployment...

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Numbers
Bureau of Labor Statistics (pdf)

Jan 2009: 7.7 <---- Obama steps in and 2nd 1/2 of TARP released
Feb 2009: 8.2 <---- ARRA (Stimulus) forced thru
Mar 2009: 8.6 <---- ARRA (Stimulus) starts
Apr 2009: 8.9
May 2009: 9.4
Jun 2009: 9.5
Jul 2009: 9.4
Aug 2009: 9.7
Sep 2009: 9.8
Oct 2009: 10.1
Nov 2009: 10.0
Dec 2009: 10.0
Jan 2010: 9.7

How do we look when compared with other countries out there with respect to annual (adjusted) average unemployment going up? Let's take a quick look by Quarters (Source - USA BLS):

............. USA ... CAN .. AUS .. JAP .. FRA .. GER .. ITA .. NLD .. SWE .. UK
Q 1/09 __8.2____6.7___5.3___4.5___8.7___7.7___7.4___3.1___7.4___7.1
Q 2/09 __9.3____7.5___5.7___5.3___9.2___8.0___7.6___3.3___8.2___7.8
Q 3/09 __9.7____7.8___5.8___5.5___9.3___8.0___7.9___3.5___8.5___7.9
Q 4/09 _10.0____7.6___5.7___5.2___9.6___7.9___8.4___8.8___ na ___ na

Sidenote: NLD=Netherlands

Fourth Quarter figures were not available for Sweden or United Kingdom at the time of writing this article... but if we look at the "trend" here, I'd guess we're #1 in unemployment.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

So... how's that Stimulus working for you?

You can't fudge the numbers. This is all happening on Obama's watch. As much as we know Dems love to blame everyone and anyone else for their sloppy -- dare I say stupid? -- administration skills... history will show them at the helm. The buck stops right on the doorstep of the White House itself.